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Spray foam insulation being applied Credit: Wikipedia

For years I've been concerned about spray foam insulation that is blown into attics and walls. Yes, it is promoted on popular home renovation shows. But what is not discussed is that the chemicals in the foam would be outgassing for years and the occupants of the home would be breathing it in.

Finally, I'm starting to see concerns raised by others - not just harmful health effects from the chemicals, including flame retardants, but also harms to the house itself. It turns out the industry is hiding the harms.... (why doesn't that surprise me?)

Excerpts from an article by Alden Wicker from VTDigger (an independent Vermont news website that publishes watchdog reports): 'I wanted to cry': Devastating risks of spray foam insulation hidden from Vermont homeowners

Londonderry contractor Abe Crossman was keeping busy with small projects at his family’s home in June 2020 during the newly arrived coronavirus pandemic. He was working outside when he noticed that the paint was peeling off the trim at the peak of the gable end of his roof. 

With 25 years of building experience, he knew that peeling paint indicated the presence of moisture. But the location was odd — that trim underneath the overhang should stay dry. So he grabbed a ladder and a pry bar to take a closer look. 

His stomach dropped as he sank the pry bar into the soft wood sheathing underneath the trim and peeled away the vinyl siding down to four feet below the roof line. What had been wood disintegrated into dust in front of his eyes, he later recalled, leaving behind nothing but spray polyurethane foam insulation. ...continue reading "Serious Problems With Spray Foam Insulation Used In Homes"

Are you ready for the world getting hotter over the next 5 years? And along the way setting record highs?

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predicts that the next 5 years are likely to have temperatures soaring to record highs. The causes are climate change (from heat-trapping greenhouse gasses) plus a naturally occurring El Nino (which is expected to start this summer).

Thus WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas warns us:

“A warming El Niño is expected to develop in the coming months and this will combine with human-induced climate change to push global temperatures into uncharted territory,” he said. “This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment. We need to be prepared.”

Why isn't everyone in the US government (including Senate and House of Representatives) taking serious steps about climate change? Our climate is changing!

From the World Meteorological Organization: Global temperatures set to reach new records in next five years

Global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in the next five years, fuelled by heat-trapping greenhouse gases and a naturally occurring El Niño event, according to a new update issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). ...continue reading "Record High Temperatures Predicted For Next Five Years"

Our DNA is everywhere. A recent study reports that everywhere we've been, we leave traces of DNA - even in the air, soil, and water. And this DNA (called environmental DNA or eDNA) is easy to sample.

This could be a privacy issue someday. Since it's so easy to collect a person's DNA in the air, soil, or water, does this mean we give consent to having someone or a company analyze and trace it to us? Will ethical guidelines be implemented about how this information can be used? Who will enforce them?

This issue is not an exaggeration. Researcher D.J. Duffy said: "We've been consistently surprised throughout this project at how much human DNA we find and the quality of that DNA," Duffy said. "In most cases the quality is almost equivalent to if you took a sample from a person."

From Science Daily: Human DNA is everywhere. That's a boon for science -- and an ethical quagmire

On the beach. In the ocean. Traveling along riverways. In muggy Florida and chilly Ireland. Even floating through the air.

We cough, spit, shed and flush our DNA into all of these places and countless more. Signs of human life can be found nearly everywhere, short of isolated islands and remote mountaintops, according to a new University of Florida study.  ...continue reading "We Leave DNA Everywhere We Go"

Seven northeastern states in the US had a record warm month in January 2023. Europe had its warmest January. In fact, it looks like all of Earth had a warm January - it was Earth's seventh warmest January since record-keeping began in 1880.

Just keep in mind - whenever records are set, it moves the baseline for all further records higher. Temperatures are inching up! Climate change!

Excerpts from Dr. Jeff Masters (meteorologist, co-founder of Weather Underground) article in Yale Climate Connections: January 2023: Earth’s seventh-warmest January on record

January 2023 was Earth’s seventh-warmest January since global record-keeping began in 1880. It was 0.87 degree Celsius (1.57°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, NCEI, reported Feb. 14. ...continue reading "Seven States and Europe Had Record Warm January"

Finally, a study with results that are totally obvious to people living in areas with lots of deer. Researchers say that adopting permanent year-round daylight savings time would extend the hours of daylight, and in doing so would reduce the number of deer-vehicle collisions. Of course.

The Univ. of Washington researchers found that deer-vehicle collisions are 14 times more likely shortly after dark than before. Collisions with deer increase by 16% in the week after clocks change in the fall.

They estimate that permanent daylight savings time would probably prevent an estimated 36,550 deer deaths, 33 human deaths, 2054 human injuries, and about $1.2 billion in costs each  year. This is because the skies would be brighter later into the evening.

On the other hand, they predict permanent standard time would result in an increase in deer-vehicle collisions, and more deaths, more injuries, and cost more money.

From Science Daily: Permanent daylight saving time would reduce deer-vehicle collisions, study shows

In much of the United States, there is a twice-yearly shift in timekeeping between standard time and daylight saving time, or DST, which delays both sunrise and sunset to make mornings darker and evenings brighter. Recently, scientists, policy experts, lawmakers and citizens have debated abandoning the twice-a-year switch and adopting either year-round standard time or DST. ...continue reading "Study Says Permanent Daylight Savings Would Reduce Car-Deer Crashes"

Greenhouse gas emissions by factory Credit: Wikipedia

It turns out that many companies are really, really underreporting the amount of  planet warming gases (greenhouse gas emissions) that they release into the air. These pollutants (carbon dioxide and other gases) are causing the world to have increasingly higher temperatures. Uh-oh...

This underreporting has been exposed by Climate Trace - a project to measure at the source (of the pollution) the true levels of carbon dioxide and other global heating gases. Climate Trace released a report this week showing that oil and gas facilities around the world are emitting greenhouse gas emissions about three times higher than their producers claim. (Are you surprised that the big companies are lying?? Hah!)

In fact, half of the 50 largest sources of greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, methane) in the world were oil and gas fields and production facilities.

Climate Trace (a non-profit group of academic scientists, environmental groups, technology companies) used evidence from satellites, remote sensors and other sources, and artificial intelligence to track who is polluting and how much throughout the world.

It's a big deal that finally there is monitoring of big polluters rather than we (including governments) taking them at their word. Will this finally result in serious action taken to reduce the amount of air pollutants being released by big companies? Hopefully.

Two  good articles. 1) From NY Times: Who’s Driving Climate Change? New Data Catalogs 72,000 Polluters and Counting

A nonprofit backed by Al Gore and other big environmental donors says it can track emissions down to individual power plants, oil fields and cargo ships.

Upstream from Shanghai along the Yangtze River, a sprawling factory complex in eastern China is churning out tens of millions of tons of steel a year — and immense quantities of planet-warming gases.
...continue reading "Factories Underreport Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions"